BACKGROUND: Compounding of cytostatic drugs requires strict aseptic procedures, while exposure to toxic drugs and repetitive manual movements should be minimized. Furthermore, reuse of vials is desirable to lower the costs. To assess if all this might be safely achieved with a robot, this study aimed at qualifying the aseptic preparation process with the robotic system APOTECAchemo.
METHODS: The aseptic compounding of patient-individual cytostatic solutions was simulated with media fill simulation tests to qualify the performance according to European GMP Annex 1. The contamination in the environment was measured in critical places using settle plates, contact plates, active air sampling and particle counting. Media-fill simulation tests were prepared in 3 production batches. The second part of the study evaluated the microbiological shelf-life of commercial drug vials after repeated puncturing. On six days, fifty syringes of 15 ml media were prepared from the same 50 vials with the robot. After each preparation, vials were covered with an IVA seal upon unloading from the robot to protect them from microbiological contamination.
RESULTS: No microbiological contamination was found in any of the 96 media fill preparations, nor in any of the 300 syringes that were prepared with repeated puncturing. The compounding area met class A limits, while class A criteria were not fulfilled by the contact plates and settle plates placed on the right side of the loading area. There, the average colony forming units (cfu) were 3 and 1.17, respectively, meeting class B criteria.
CONCLUSIONS: Robotical compounding of cytostatic drugs with APOTECAchemo meets the microbiological requirements of the European GMP. In addition, the robot can reuse vials repeatedly and safely, thereby enabling extended usage.